Category Archives: civil rights

Letter to the Editor of Irish Times re Civil Partnership Bill

This is my letter is response to a letter to the Editor of the Irish Times about the Civil Partnership Bill. First, the letter I am responding to.

Madam, – Leo O’Shaughnessy (July 4th) appears to take grave offence at the suggestion that the Government’s proposed legislation for same-sex unions could undermine marriage. He argues that the Bill is designed to ensure that “the institution of marriage remains untouched”.

By this he presumably means that the Government has not attempted to redefine marriage. This is true, but the legislation indirectly diminishes the status of marriage by conferring similar rights and benefits on registered same-sex unions. Similarly, the lesser protections proposed in the same Bill for cohabiting heterosexual and same-sex couples also undermine the unique standing marriage has, and should have, in society.

The distinction between marriage and other forms of sexual relationship is being gradually obscured. It is clear why the State has always favoured marriage: it is naturally orientated towards the procreation and raising of children. It is unclear why the State should favour any other kind of sexual relationships over and above, for example, that of a couple whose relationship is based on familial ties, such as two brothers living together.

Mr O’Shaughnessy says my statement (July 3rd) that same-sex unions experience a higher level of violence and mental and physical illness is “born of the worst kind of bigotry”; and Dr Colm Humphries (July 5th) suggests I need to consider my own biases. Yet studies such as “Violence Between Intimates”, published by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics in November 1994, indicate that violence is two to three times more common among homosexual partners than among married couples. The homosexual authors of Men Who Beat The Men Who Love Them also claimed that domestic violence affected half of all gay couples. The leading US gay magazine The Advocate reported that 75 per cent of its readers admitted engaging in violent sex, with a further 20 per cent engaging in sadistic sex. A study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examining conflict in lesbian relationships discovered that a third of those surveyed had experienced one or more incidents of physical abuse. Many other studies confirm these findings.

Male homosexuals also have a significantly reduced life expectancy, according to research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in 1997, most likely as a consequence of the health risks of their lifestyle. As regards mental illness, a review of studies entitled “Homosexuality and mental illness”, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry in 1999 stated that “homosexual people are at a substantially higher risk for some form of emotional problems”. I fail to see how I am guilty of bigotry or bias because I refer to this evidence.

Personally, I believe the State should refrain from legislating for any kind of unions other than marriage. In my view, it is not I that should “stop caring about what goes on behind closed doors”, as Mr O’Shaughnessy recommends, but rather the Government.

– Yours, etc,MICHAEL O’DRISCOLL, Blackrock, Cork.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2008/0711/1215677267266.html

My response:

Madam – Michael O’Driscoll’s letter (July 11th) is his attempt to justify his bigotry. Mr. O’Driscoll recognises that the Civil Partnership Bill does not in anyway treat the institution of marriage worse than Civil Partnerships or else it would be held to be unconstitutional. In fact marriage will remain as the ‘fundamental unit of our society’ (Art 41 of the Constitution) because inter alia marriage will retain the Constitutional rights afforded to it by Art 41 whereas Civil Partnerships will only have legislative rights.

Mr. O’Driscoll says that the Bill will ‘diminish the status of marriage by conferring similar rights and benefits on same-sex couples’ this is pure sophism. Why would giving people rights diminish the institution of marriage? Mr. O’Driscoll goes on to say that ‘the lesser protections for heterosexual couples…undermine the unique standing marriage has…in our society’ I suggest that Mr. O’Driscoll does not think much of the institution of marriage if he thinks that people will choose lesser protections over greater protections. I feel that people will chose based upon their own considered opinion with regard to their subjective circumstance and that we aren’t going to see the end of marriage as a result of this.  

Even if it were true that people will abandon en masse marriage for civil partnerships the Supreme Court held in Muckley v. Ireland [1985] IR 472 that treatment of any persons that constitutes an inducement not to get married is not an attack on the institution of marriage. It is therefore irrelevant if this Bill will encourage people not to get married, which of course will only apply to heterosexual couples covered by the Bill, provided that marriage remains greater or equal to Civil Partnerships.

Mr. O’Driscoll goes on to say that marriage is special because it is a orientated towards procreation. Based upon this logic Mr. O’Driscoll would deny marriage to any couples incapable of conceiving a child. In my opinion this is not the purpose of a marriage Mr. O’Driscoll disregards the plethora of reasons for marriage including love and companionship. To reduce marriage to a means of procreation is very utilitarian and demeaning to the human condition.

Cited in Mr. O’Driscoll letter are articles he suggests vindicated his position that homosexual relationships are sinister. In his letter Mr. O’Driscoll referred to the book Men Who Beat the Men Who Love Them as support for this argument if Mr. O’Driscoll Googled this book he would know that one of its authors has said that the statistics are not capable of supporting an argument against gay marriage. Mr. O’Driscoll also refers to a report by the US Dept. of Justice called Violence Between Intimates I gave the report a quick read and was unable to glean the statistics that Mr. O’Driscoll cites. However, this type of argument is not sustainable because there are huge amounts of more recent data contrary to what Mr. O’Driscoll has cited. I suggest he do a Google search. Even if it were true that homosexual couples are more prone to violence what is this an argument against same-sex marriage if I were to adduce reports and overwhelming evidence that miscegenation caused violence in the home would it be time to stop interracial marriage?

How is it relevant that 75% of homosexuals ‘admitted’ to having ‘violent’ sex and 20% to having sadistic sex? People can have any type of lawful sex they like. This is indicative of nothing. In fact it is demonstrative of Mr. O’Driscoll closed-mindedness.

It is clear that Mr. O’Driscoll does not want gay relationships it is time he admitted the real reason why; he doesn’t like homosexuality.

 

Yours,

Robert Donohoe

 

UPDATE:

Someone has written an excellent post in reposnse to Mr. O’Driscoll’s letter. Read it here at: http://www.orcid.net/2008/07/11/lies_damn_lies_and_cogging_conservative_websites

Thanks, Ciarán

 

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Filed under civil rights, gay marriage, gay rights, human rights, ireland, irish law, law, opinion, politics

"There Are No Gays in Iran": But, Ireland’s Sending One Back!

It was reported in the Irish press that Ireland plan to deport an Iranian national back to Iran despite his life being in danger because he is gay. It is reported that “the deputy Iranian Foreign Minister said [in the Irish Parliament] last week that they will ‘not do it from a crane on the back of a lorry anymore but they will still do it.” refering to the execution of gay people that return to Iran’.

Senator Norris, the man that took the case to the European Court of Human Rights to legalise homosexuality in Ireland, said in the Senate “What are we doing and where is the accountability? In the name of the Oireachtas [Irish Parliament], I demand that the practice of deporting a person under those conditions should be ceased immediately.”

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Tesco Boycotts Zimbabwe: “Every Little Helps”

Tesco UK and Ireland has said that it will not stock produce from Zimbabwe “as long as the political crisis persists in that country”. This is a welcome first step towards the isolation of the regieme in Zimbabwe more need to join in to make the point a lot more acute.

Tesco say that they don’t stock a lot of goods from Zimbabwe but, this isn’t the most factor it is the symbolism of rejecting anything to do with the currupt governement that if adopted more widely will be made more explicitly. It is fair to say that this action may be hurting the producers of the products who may be innocent of the crimes of Mugabe but, getting them help in other ways will be a lot more effective overall.

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Filed under africa, civil rights, genocide, human rights, opinion, politics, right to vote, united nations, zimbabwe

Would a Liberal Send Troops into Zimbabwe?

The Zimbabwean despot Robert Mugabe was sworn into office to take on his 6th term as president of Zimbabwe an office he doesn’t legitimately hold. He used violence and coercion to drive his opponent out of the competition; it is a travesty of Democracy and denial decency for this man to be accepted as the rightful president of Zimbabwe.

The very first thing that needs to be done by the international community is to refuse to recognise him as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. This should send him the message that the World is not going to accept his presence at any international events. There should be a worldwide travel ban enforced against him, do not allow him to leave the country. This will be a lot easier to get agreement on in the West but, problems seem to arise in the neighbouring African countries. Western Nations should make it clear to any Nation that gives aid or comfort to the despot will not enjoy the friendship of the West.

Trade Unions have called for a grass roots blockade of the tyrant no one should serve him or his staff in any capacity. He should be denied service at airports and in shops. This is at least a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the People of Zimbabwe.

I began to wonder how my liberalism might fit into my opinions on World dictators do we, the World Community, have a role in the internal affairs of a Sovereign Nation? I think that there are many circumstances that should result repudiation of their Sovereignty. One such criterion for the forfeit of autonomy is when the de facto ruler of a Nation engages in acts of genocide.

It may require a UN decision to send in peace-keeping troops into Zimbabwe to stop the Genocide and to prosecute Mugabe for crimes against Humanity in the International Criminal Court.


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Ireland’s Bigot Senator

With news that Ireland is to have civil union for its citizens soon Senator Jim Walsh is trying to stop same-sex unions because of his bigotry.

FF Senator leads move to deny gay couples right to register

MARK HENNESSY, Political Correspondent

A GROUP of Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators is seeking to reverse a Government decision to allow gay and lesbian couples register their relationships with the State.

A party motion put forward last night by Wexford-based Senator Jim Walsh demanded that nothing should be done in the upcoming Civil Partnership Bill that would in any way lessen the “special status” enjoyed by heterosexual marriage under the Constitution.

The issue is to be discussed at next week’s meeting of Fianna Fáil’s parliamentary party, and the Government is likely to ask the parliamentary party’s justice committee to consider it.

Last night, senior backbench TDs and Senators said they believed that between a dozen and 30 members of the parliamentary party had signed Senator Walsh’s motion. The Senator himself did not return calls from The Irish Times last night.

The language used in the motion, which focused on the need to maintain the special place of heterosexual couples, has been deliberately chosen in a bid to ensure that the signatories can reject allegations that they are seeking to discriminate against same-sex couples in any way.

“The motion would have considerable support from the more conservative sections of the parliamentary party,” said a senior Senator last night, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“I don’t see any great need to legislate in this area. I have my own views on it. Let people do what they want, but I don’t see the need to be putting things into the statute book,” said another, who equally would not be quoted by name.

Under the parliamentary party’s rules, motions for debate for meetings have to be lodged with the group’s chairman, Louth TD Séamus Kirk, by the previous Thursday.

The Cabinet cleared the heads of the legislation last Tuesday, and a full Bill should be ready to go before the Houses of the Oireachtas in six months and to be law within about a year.

The Civil Partnership Bill would give gay and lesbian couples greater rights and control over pensions, inheritance and tax, but it would not allow same-sex couples to adopt.

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/frontpage/2008/0627/1214516624201.html?via=mr

I am disgusted by his closed mindedness. I am urgeing people to not vote for him or anyone that supports his motion in the next election. I am also asking everyone to contact him and inform him that you do not support what he is doing.

Contact him at:

086 8139971  Mobile

01 6183000    Office

Address

Mountgarrett Castle
New Ross
Co. Wexford.

Email

Jim.Walsh@oireachtas.ie

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Is Obama a Secret Atheist?

I watched this video of Obama speaking and I got the impression that Obama wasn’t really a true believer. He may just be putting out this theist non-sense because it is hard to get elected to public office in the United States without presenting some for of religious belief.


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Filed under civil rights, morality, opinion, politics, separation of church and state, US, us presidential election 2008

A Time to Preach and a Time to Teach!

I was happy to read in the news today that the christian brothers have handed over the schools they own to a trust that has been set up to run them. The article says that the trust is run by lay people; which is really a step in the right direction in my view.
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0619/1213810561013.html
It is time to get the church out of schools. The State should have control of all the schools that it pays for and take them out of the hands of the churches. If you take a look at the ethos break down of the primary schools in this State you will see that out of 3289 schools there are about 3025 that are catholic then there are some church of Ireland; some jewish; presbyterian; islamic and so on.

In fact in Ireland there are no schools that are not religious. Look at the Education Act, 1998 requires the school to have a patron , a person that set the policy of the schools, it is invariably the local bishop. Second level schools are usually run by the churches and even the community schools are required to have a chaplain. This was challenged in the Courts as being contrary to the Irish Constitution and it was held by the Courts that the paying of €1.2m every year for chaplains was not endowment of religion.

I am working on a more detailed post than this but, I seen this news today and said I should post what I thought about it.


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